On Anger, Book I, V

We have now finished our enquiry as to what anger is, whether it exists in any other creature besides man, what the difference is between it and irascibility, and how many forms it possesses.

Let us now enquire whether anger be in accordance with nature, and whether it be useful and worth entertaining in some measure.

Whether it be according to nature will become evident if we consider man’s nature, than which what is more gentle while it is in its proper condition?

Yet what is more cruel than anger?

What is more affectionate to others than man?

Yet what is more savage against them than anger?

Mankind is born for mutual assistance, anger for mutual ruin: the former loves society, the latter estrangement.

The one loves to do good, the other to do harm; the one to help even strangers, the other to attack even its dearest friends.

The one is ready even to sacrifice itself for the good of others, the other to plunge into peril provided it drags others with it.

Who, then, can be more ignorant of nature than he who classes this cruel and hurtful vice as belonging to her best and most polished work?

Anger, as we have said, is eager to punish; and that such a desire should exist in man’s peaceful breast is least of all according to his nature; for human life is founded on benefits and harmony and is bound together into an alliance for the common help of all, not by terror, but by love towards one another.